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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

400

THE WILD CAT

Scotland. Plenty of alleged wild Cats have been seen and &\
shot; but these are too frequently merely feral Oats, i.e. domes
tabbies which have reverted to a hunting life. The real "W
Cat differs from the domestic races by the proportionately Ion-
body and limbs, the shorter and thicker tail; the pads of 
toes are not quite black. The period of the gestation of
Wild Gat, according to Mr. Cocks, is a week or so longer tl
that of any domestic Cat.
The Domestic Cat is in fact regarded as the descendant of
Eastern F. caffra, or (perhaps ancT) the closely-allied F. manicult
It is highly probable, however, that after introduction into t
country as a domestic animal it has interbred with the Wild (
Many allied species of Cats will interbreed, even two so
apart as the Lion and the Tiger. There are interesting archs
logical and linguistic reasons for regarding the Domestic Cai
an importation. The legend of Dick Whittington's Cat poi
to it being a rare and valuable animal, which a tamed F. cc
would not at that time have been. There was an enactment
Wales of a penalty against him who should kill the king's (
again suggestive of its rarity and consequent value. The ^
name " Puss " is a hint of a foreign origin. Some would dei
it from Perse, and upon this is based the notion that the Ca
from Persia. But it seems that Puss is the same as Pasht
Bubastls, showing so far an Egyptian origin for the aniraaL '
ancestral Cats mentioned above are natives of Egypt.1
The genus Cynaelurus, which includes but a single spa
O. jubatus, the Cheetah or Hunting Leopard, is separated f
Felis by a number of characters. In the first place the cl
are non-retractile, or at least less retractile than those of
true Cats. It is, moreover, longer legged. The molar IB mon
a line with the other teeth of the jaw, and the upper carnas
tooth has no inner tubercle, Messrs. Windle and Parsons t
lately pointed out many Dog-like features in the muscles, '
anirnal is about as large as a Leopard, but has plain black sj
As its vernacular name implies it is used for sport, and is q
easily tameable. It will purr like the Puma. The Che*
occurs in India, Persia, Turkestan, and also in Africa; the la
1 See E. HamUton, The Wild Oat of Europe, London, Porter, 1896; and ]
Watldns, Gleaninffa from the Natural History of the Aiwients, London, Elliot 8
189$.